Tag Archives: Roman Empire

City chauvinism and Zonaras’ lament

30 Dec

The reason that Byzantine Ambassador’s tweeting of Joannes Zonaras’ whine about being stuck on the Princes’ Islands — (“Adalar” or what Jews called, with wonderful syncretism, “Las Adas”) — “the end of the earth” — is funny…

— is that this (below)…

…is how far the Princes’ Islands are from Constantinople. In fact, it was generally considered that exile on the Islands was particularly painful because one could still see the City from there.

But, as the Bard said: “There is no world outside Verona walls…”

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list — at nikobakos@gmail.com.

My Best of Byzantine Ambassador’s tweets for 2020

30 Dec

Check out ByzAmb (a.k.a. Henry Hopwood-Phillips) at @byzantinepower or at his website: THE BYZANTINE AMBASSADOR. He’s a tipaccio in the great tradition of truly erudite, eccentric Brits, and is always up to smart, scarily learned, quirky takes on Byzantium, Orthodoxy, what we used to call Christendom, MENA and western Eurasia more generally, and lots else.

These are my favs for this year:

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list — at nikobakos@gmail.com.

Byzantine Ambassador’s website — check it out

18 Oct

Screen Shot 2019-10-18 at 5.34.47 PM

“Join us on our adventure to explore the forgotten world of BYZANTIUM. The word conjures up images of scheming eunuchs and mad monks but it was so much more – it was the very Roman empire itself! Greek-speaking, with its capital in Constantinople, and an influence that extended from England to Ethiopia – but they still called themselves Romans. Theirs was an empire of fabulous riches and mighty epics, buried by the jealous powers of the Islamic and the Western empires. Now we will go beyond the myths to rediscover how BYZANTIUM changed the world – and why it is still important today.”

You can follow Byzantine Ambassador at @byzantinepower but I just discovered his website today and it drops the quirky tone of his tweets and instead offers a sizeable amount of material on Byzantium and its place in the Mediterranean world and history.  Incredible erudition, interesting articles, videos and book suggestions, it’s like doing a major in Byzantine history.  And despite his obvious polemic position, his fully inclusive — I guess might be the right word — analyses paints a both broader and more detailed picture of the Eastern Roman Empire’s interaction with neighboring civilizations and its position in the wider world than you usually get.  If you’re even slightly interested, please, check it out.

Final comment and one I feel the need to point out whenever I get the chance is an extension of Byz’s front page blurb:

“Greek-speaking, with its capital in Constantinople, and an influence that extended from England to Ethiopia – but they still called themselves Romans”

Yes, they still called themselves Romans.  And we, modern Greeks, continued to call ourselves Romans until my grandparents’ generation and well into the 20th c.  Which is why I state, on the homepage of the Jadde that …” I’m Greek (Roman really, but like five people today understand what I’m talking about when I say that, so I use “Greek” for shorthand).”  I’m going to have to sit and compose some kind of full treatise on the issue at some time.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

%d bloggers like this: